In Western philosophy, the problem of the direct or indirect (immediate or mediate) perception is closely intertwined with the dispute between empiricism and rationalism. Today most trends in modern cognitive sciences dropped the old empiricist view, according to which our perception truly mirrors the "objective" world around us. It has become more or less clear that our perception of things is selective in character and that we are living not in one universal world, but in many worlds created by our activity (Umwelten). Nevertheless experimental psychology, ethology of man, psycholinguistics are trying to detect some immediate, preconceptual stages of perception (for example, in newborn babies), but every time they prove to be somehow mediated.
The aim of this project is to inquire into the problem of immediacy/mediacy (in Sanskrit nirvikalpaka-savikalpaka) as it was raised and discussed by Indian thinkers with regard to ordinary sense perception (pratyaksha). The Yogacara Buddhists attributed final validity to the nirvikalpa pratyaksha. Its object is regarded by them as something absolutely particular, unique, singular (svalakshana) and not accessible to conceptualization, verbalization, reflection, emotional and affective reactions. These latter constitute ultimately unreal and mentally constructed general characteristics (samanya-lakshana). Though most schools of Hindu philosophy criticized the Yogacarins for this conception, the distinction between nirvikalpa and savikaplaka was adopted by a large number of them and fitted into their own theoretical frameworks.
To supply this reasearch with a sound source-foundation I want to collect, to translate and to interprete a number of Sanskrit texts composed by the thinkers of diverse allegiances: Buddhist schools, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, Vedanta, Samkhya, Yoga and Jainism.